Colm Holland’s 40 Days of Alchemy Meditations at home.
DAY 21 - The Sword
Today let’s stay with the story of Santiago in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Early on in his journey to the desert Santiago is robbed in a marketplace, and yet he was distracted by the most beautiful sword he had ever seen. It had a silver embossed scabbard with precious gems embedded into the handle.
The sword is a very important Alchemy symbol. Santiago wants the sword badly enough to promise himself that one day he will buy it. Little does he realise that his desire to own the sword was not the reason for the passion he felt when he saw it.
The passion was his soul longing to be cut free from the fear and doubts of his heart.
As I explain in my book, The Secret of The Alchemist, the sword is an alchemical symbol of the process where the concealed fears of Santiago’s unconscious will be cut open and exposed to the desert sun, thus leading the way to the unified self - The Philosopher’s Child.
What follows is the story of how Santiago spends a long time with The Merchant in a crystal store, where he makes money cleaning and selling the merchandise. The sword is not mentioned and Santiago never refers to it again. But the cutting process of the sword begins its work as he labors to make a success of the store.
Santiago becomes a wealthy young man from his work of transforming the run-down store into a thriving business and yet there’s a more significant process at work that we all need to experience if we are to be successful in finding our treasure.
We have to expose and counter the doubts, fears and negativity of The Merchant who owns the store. We all have a ‘Merchant’ who owns our store. The ‘Merchant’ is our heart and we are the store. We can choose to let the negativity of The Merchant dictate our present and our destiny.
Santiago discovers an important lesson from The Merchant: most people choose not to pursue their dreams for fear of failing.
The merchant’s fear of failure had been greater than his desire to follow his dream. To avoid the disappointment of not being successful, the merchant had chosen not to try to be successful. He preferred to dream of going to Mecca, an obligation of his religion, rather than actually trying to make that journey.
Santiago’s cleansing work is forcing his unconscious voice to dare to be positive, to hope and to face the amazing possibilities that he could achieve if only he could overcome his fears.
The Sword of Santiago’s true desire cuts away the fear in his heart.
Santiago hears this voice of desire in his heart and chooses to continue with the work of cleansing until he has enough of value to continue his life. Eventually the voice moves from its initial position of resignation to being willing to take the risk of failure.
The purification work of The Sword has worked! At the end of his time in the crystal shop, Santiago decides he will risk the unknown and continue his journey to find his treasure.
The heart is fickle and more often than not will want you to take the seemingly easier route of safety and fear. We have the power to listen to fear or embrace our real desires.
Our mantra for today is:
Today I will not listen to the voice of fear, I will let my passion do the talking!
Remember I have asked Love to give you everything you need to be the Alchemist in your world.
Colm Holland is a writer, mentor, speaker, alchemy trainer and adventurer.